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Literature / Jingo

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Discworld goes to war...A weathercock has risen from the sea of Discworld. Suddenly you can tell which way the wind is blowing. A new land has surfaced, and so have old feuds. And as two armies march, Commander Vimes of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch has got just a few hours to deal with a crime so big that there's no law against it. It's called "war." He's facing unpleasant foes who are out to get him... and that's just the people on *his* side. The enemy might be worse. And his pocket Dis-organiser says he's got "Die" under "Things To Do Today". But he'd better not, because the world's cleverest inventor and its most devious politician are on their way to the battlefield with a little package that's guaranteed to stop a battle... Discworld goes to war, with armies of sardines, warriors, fishermen, squid, and at least one very camp follower.

Jingo is the 21st Discworld novel and the fourth in the City Watch theme. It's written as a criticism of war, with particular reference to the Falklands Conflict and the first Gulf War of 1990-1. And a few Shout Outs to R'yleh of the Cthulhu Mythos.

Politics is a funny thing, and all the more so on the Discworld. When the sunken island of Leshp rises again, the bustling metropolis of Ankh-Morpork and the Arabic Expy Klatch both stake claims to it — diplomacy leading to riots, assassinations, and eventually war. Commander Vimes is determined to keep the peace as much as he can — unless it involves the bastard who he suspects of murder getting away with it.

Soon Vimes and his ragtag group of Night Watchmen find themselves in the unfamiliar deserts of Klatch, trying to stop the war before it starts. In the meantime, Lord Vetinari is on his own quest, with designs of his own on the direction the future should take — and oddly enough, it involves Sergeant Colon, Nobby Nobbs, Leonard of Quirm, and at least one donkey.

Preceded by Hogfather, followed by The Last Continent. Preceded in the Watch series by Feet of Clay, followed by The Fifth Elephant.

Contains examples of:

  • Affably Evil: Prince Cadram is a nice, polite and very well-read man... who’s also the Big Bad and arranged his brother's death to blame Ankh Morpork and start a war with them.
  • Alien Geometries: For all the fighting being done over Leshp, nobody who actually visits the place wants to stay for long.
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Ankh-Morpork native Les and Klatch native Akhan bond over this while their fathers are threatening each other:
    "Les caught Akhan's eye. They exchanged a very brief glance which was nevertheless modulated with a considerable amount of information, beginning with the sheer galactic-sized embarrassment of having parents and working up from there."
  • Anaphora: A parody of the song that brought us the modern meaning of Jingoism, "By Jingo". The story has "We have no ships. We have no men. We have no money, too", in reference to the original line of "We've got the ships, we've got the men, we've got the money too".
  • And I'm the Queen of Sheba: If Carrot isn't the heir to the throne of Ankh-Morpork, Ahmed’s Queen Punjitrum of Sumtri.
  • Appeal to Inherent Nature: Ahmed turns this around so those who feel the need to punish are covered by this as well.
  • Arab Beoble Talk: Klatchians are given prominence as the Discworld reference for all things vaguely Arabic and Middle-Eastern. Native ‘Klatchian’-speakers speaking ‘Morporkian’ are distinguished by exaggerated guttural back-of-the-throat sounds breaking into their speech (similarly to the Arabic pharyngealised consonants), together with a take on the stereotypical formal ‘Effendi’—only in Pratchett's world, this comes out as Offendi.
    • Ahmed’s a particular proponent of this - it’s, naturally, Obfuscating Stupidity, and he later remarks in an upper-class Morporkian drawl picked up studying at the Assassin's Guild in Ankh-Morpork, which he uses in Klatch, that it's always good to sound foreign because people assume that foreign means stupid.
  • Arc Words: the wind turns...
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Colon summarizes being in The Boat with Vetinari, Leonard of Quirm, and Nobby thusly. "He was in the company of a man who even the Assassins' Guild were frightened of, a man who'd stay up all night to invent an alarm clock to wake him up in the morning, and a man who had never knowingly changed his underwear."
  • Attack! Attack! Attack!: The D'Regs will always attack at dawn. If they're fighting defensively they counterattack with every man, woman, and child... and somehow even the livestock join in. A soldier who fought them in the past mentions a particularly traumatic encounter with an enraged D'Reg chicken.
  • Attractive Bent-Gender: Subverted - while this is a cast-iron law of comedy, "the laws of narrative causality were up against the fact of Nobby Nobbs, and were forced to give up". Nobby once scares men away by threatening to strip.
  • Authority in Name Only: Apparently the D'regs don't expect their leader to do much besides give the order to charge, and the job is fairly ceremonial.
  • Badass Boast:
    • Detritus, when Vimes and co. turn their badges in.
      "I got my badge carved on my arm. Someone c'n try an' take it off if dey likes."
    • By Proxy for Vimes: on meeting Carrot, and discovering he was able to convince D'Regs not to charge, an enemy commander remarks "This man can make water run uphill, and he has a Commander!"
    • General Tacticus' statue, in the middle of the dead city of Tacticum, deep in the Klatchian desert, which has a simple inscription that translates as, "I can see your house from here."
  • Batman Gambit:
    • The villain's entire gambit rests on Vimes' reputation for honesty and fairness would mean that Vimes would assume it was his own side to blame and if even he said it, everyone would believe him.
    • Ahmed provokes Vimes into following him all the way to Klatch.
      "Why did you drag me here?"
      "Drag you? I had to sabotage my own ship so you wouldn't lose me!"
      "Yes, but... you... knew how I'd react." Vimes's heart began to sink. Everyone knew how Sam Vimes would react.
    • Vetinari's plan also relied on Vimes going to Klatch, and stopping the war at just the right moment to officially end the emergency, allowing him to come back into power and surrender. We don't know exactly what happened in the alternate timeline where Vimes stayed in Ankh-Morpork, but we do know Vetinari's plan failed.
  • Battle Butler: Vimes discovers Willikins is one of these.
    "I'LL CUT YER TONKER OFF'F YER YER GREASY - Oh, is that you, Sir Samuel?"
    "Huh? Willikins?"
    "Indeed, sir." The butler straightened up.
    "Do excuse me one moment, sir KNOCK IT OFF YOU MOTHERLOVIN SONS OF BITCHES I had no apprehension of your presence, sir."
  • BFS: Ahmed’s scimitar is said to be big enough that rather than it being a concealed weapon, he’s a “concealed owner.” The illustration by Paul Kidby in The Art of Discworld definitely conveys this.
  • Beast in the Building: A donkey gets stuck inside a minaret. It's apparently a recurring problem in Klatch since the donkey can't turn around and won't back down - not dissimilar to the war brewing between Klatch and Ankh-Morpork. Nevertheless, The Chessmaster Patrician Vetinari coaxes it down with "persuasion. And, admittedly, a sharp stick."
    Vetinari: The trick of getting donkeys down from minarets is always to find that part of the donkey which seriously wishes to get down.
  • Big Bad: Prince Cadram, brother of Prince Khufurah.
  • Big, Thin, Short Trio: Colon, Vetinari, and Nobby, who end up involved in humorous antics together for a lot of the story.
  • Blatant Lies: Vetinari insists he’s unable to speak Klatchian despite having just translated said language in an instant, after hearing it through at least two walled surfaces. Even if he can't speak it, he understands it perfectly.
  • Bling-Bling-THWISH!: Ossie uses a gilded-tipped arrow fletched with peacock feathers to shoot at the visiting Prince, apparently believing this would make up for him not being strong enough to wield his bow properly.
  • Bluff the Impostor: The Klatchians in the bar are instantly suspicious of Colon, so one asks him in Klatchian "Excuse me, fat one, but can you understand what I am saying?" Upon realizing he can't, they have some fun by telling him the army has gone to "En al Sams la Laisa": "The Place Where The Sun Shineth Not".
  • Brick Joke:
    • Near the beginning, Nobby and Colon notice a man painting "Pride of Ankh-Morpork" on a ship has forgotten to include the 'e'. Later on, Lord Rust is dismayed to learn that one of his ships is named the Prid of Ankh-Morpork.
    • The section introducing gargoyles mentions that Ankh-Morpork sees unnaturally harsh rains, but falling bedsteads are considered unusual. A bit later Vimes is mildly surprised to hear that one of the Watch's informants was recently killed by a falling bedstead. Later still, Vimes actually encounters a rain of bedsteads. And coal-scuttles. And cake.
    • When the stood-down watch are watching the regiments march by, Angua says "'Come back with your shield or on it'", then explains what it means when Nobby asks "You mean like... sledging, sort of thing?" Near the end of the book when the Watch are returning to Captain Jenkins' ship (which he managed to get back afloat) to return home, Carrot surfs down a sand dune on a shield to meet Jenkins before he can cast off.
  • Brought Home the Wrong Kid: An Ankh-Morpork fisherman and a Klatchian fisherman stumble on the newly-risen island of Leshp at the same time. When the two men realize that they can't lay claim to it for their respective nations unless they get home first, each grabs for his boy's arm and rushes back to his boat... and then returns, lambasting the other man as a kidnapper, to swap for his own boy.
  • Butt Biter: Angua in werewolf form resorts to this to scare people off without causing severe injuries. She doesn't like it very much.
  • Call-Back:
    • Carrot organizes two huge armies of hundreds of men each into playing football. When asked by Vimes where and how he got a football, Carrot replies that he has taken to carrying one in his pack, since it's a very effective pacifying tool. This is a reference to much, much earlier in the book, where he also pacifies two small (but armed and violent) gangs of street urchins by organizing them into football teams. In that case, they were too embarrassed to actually play, but they each picked up their weapons and went their separate ways without fighting.
    • Lord Vetinari, at one point, has to take up juggling to maintain his, Colon's, and Nobby's cover as travelling performers, despite never having juggled before. When he turns out to be a perfect juggler, Colon asks him afterwards, in awe, how he knew he could do it. As in his internal monologue in Sourcery, when remarking on balancing plates, after ruling Ankh-Morpork, a little bit of juggling is easy.
    • This is the second time Sergeant Colon recalls a story from his childhood with a similarity to The Water Babies. He seemed to have fonder memories of it in Reaper Man, though.
  • Calling Me a Logarithm: Upon seeing Angua in his room, Prince Khufurah says he’s died and gone to Paradise, then asks Angua if she is a houri. Angua says “I don’t have to take that kind of language, thank you” before jumping out the ship’s window.
  • Canis Latinicus:
    • An Ozymandias-like statue in the ruined Ankh-Morporkian outpost bears the inscription Ab Hoc Possum Videre Domum Tuum, which means "I can see your house from up here." (In this case, this doesn't mean "Look, that's where I live!" but the intertwined boast of "Look how much of your country I conquered!" and veiled threat of "I know where you live.")
    • Also Prince Khufurah's diploma, which is a "Doctorum Adamus cum Flabello Dulci," or "Doctorate of Sweet Fanny Adams," i.e. nothing
  • Cannot Tell Fiction from Reality: While talking about other massively lopsided battles, Rust starts including ones from children's stories. When this is pointed out, he says "Are you calling my nanny a liar?"
  • Chekhov's Skill: Nobby's repertoire of raunchy stories, previously introduced in Feet Of Clay, actually make him something of a hit with the Klatchian women because they think he's another woman poking fun at men.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: 71-Hour Ahmed casually explains to the captain of the boat he uses to get back to Klatch that, if he goes to the nearest port, the commander there will torture him for no reason. Ahmed advises him to save the truth for a while.
  • Contempt Crossfire: Vimes finds himself on the receiving end when he investigates the attempted murder of the Klatchian envoy, finding evidence everywhere that somebody tried to make it look like a Klatchian did it. It actually was the Klatchians, but Vimes was railroading himself into looking for Ankh-Morpork guilt because doing otherwise would make him appear to side with the racists, upper and lower class, in the city. This is explicitly pointed out by 71-Hour Ahmed.
    You couldn't bring yourself to think the Klatchians had done it. Because that'd line you up with Sergeant Colon and the rest of the Klatchian-fags-are-made-of-camel-dung brigade.
  • Continuity Nod / Ironic Echo: The line "the night is always old" is one to Hogfather, where Death says it in an attempt to be dramatic. Played very straight here.
  • Cool Boat: The Going-Under-the-Water-Safely Device. (Leonard sucks at naming things.)
  • The Coroner Doth Protest Too Much: The last person who tried making a printing press, despite the wizards and engravers having serious views on such matters, was founding having committed suicide. Definitely suicide, since he even left a note behind explaining it was suicide. Engraved on the head of a pin. Very considerate.
  • Cowboy Cop: 71-Hour Ahmed. He justifies his actions and Terror Hero reputation by describing just how big an area he has to police and how little back-up he has.
  • Cunning Linguist: Carrot, who eventually acts as a Shout-Out to Lawrence of Arabia; also done humorously with Colon who is able to speak "Morporkian" and pass for a Klatchian, as Morporkian is a lingua fraca in Klatch, and he responds to the question "where are you from?" with "Er." Ur, (as Vetinari points out, after a long story that made no mention of Colon's incompetence) is a region renowned for the stupidity of its inhabitants. Carrot's linguistic expertise is, however, instantly averted if he's ever asked to write down anything.
  • Dawn Attack: Jabbar claims that "Charging is what dawn is for."
  • Deadpan Snarker: Vetinari is in particularly good form here, especially in the early stages.
  • Delayed Reaction: Vetinari, of all people, has one of these following an off-hand comment from Leonard regarding Leshp.
  • Determinator: Aside from Vimes's usual persistence as "Vetinari's terrier", Constable Downspout also demonstrates this trope, by carefully searching the rooftops, gutters, walls and eaves between the Barbican and the parade-route until he finds Ossie's arrow. Impressively persistent work, especially for someone who moves as slowly as a Discworld gargoyle.
  • Distinction Without a Difference:
    • When Angua asks Carrot if Snowy Slopes is an assassin, Carrot replies, "No, he just kills people for money". The Assassins' Guild would definitely tell you there's a difference, though.
    • The taxes haven't been evaded. They just haven't been paid. note 
  • Diversionary Foreign Policy: It turns out that Prince Cadram's real goal was to unite Klatch, and arranged for a war with Ankh-Morpork to this end.
  • Don't Be Ridiculous: Colon confuses "hieroglyphs" for a type of mollusc, but when Nobby asks if the ones further down are "loweroglyphs," Colon tells him not to be ridiculous because you don't get loweroglyphs in these waters.
  • Dowry Dilemma: The Funny Foreigner part of this trope is meticulously lampshaded ("This is another test, isn't it ... ?") and analyzed; the foreigner knows exactly what he's doing.
    "For Mrs Boggis?" Vimes waggled a hand dismissively. "Nah ... four camels, maybe four camels and a goat in a good light. And when she's had a shave."
  • The Dreaded: Vetinari is usually this, of course, but Colon is shaking with terror at the prospect of something so mundane as almost beating him at Scrabble.
  • Either "World Domination", or Something About Bananas: Lord Rust brings his Lieutenant Hornett as a translator to the pre-battle meeting between the Klatchian and the Ankh-Morpork army officers. Sadly for Lord Rust, Lt. Hornett only knows how to read Klatchian, resulting in Lt. Hornett being unable to translate "Do any of you gentlemen speak Klatchian?" and then partially translating "this clown’s in charge of an army?" as "Er... something about... to own, to control... er... ".
  • Emergency Cargo Dump: Vimes orders his men to throw out the ship's cargo so they can reach Al Khali faster. Detritus complies, discarding every loose object he can get his hands on. Like the anchor. And the ship's barometer. And the lifeboat.
  • End of an Age: The fate of the Gnolls, who in Equal Rites were the Apache-like race who "practiced hospitality to travellers of the red-hot knife variety" and terrorised the remoter parts of the overland trade routes. Debased remnants of the race have surrendered to civilization, and have entered the city, like Reservation Indians, to occupy the lowest rung of the social ladder, as street-cleaners and rubbish pickers. By Going Postal, the wild hills will have been ethnically cleansed of the last residual gnoll problem. Echoing the fate of American Indians?
  • Entertainingly Wrong: Both Vimes and Ahmed come to the same conclusion that the assassination attempt was a frame job in order to be a pretext for war and suspect their own people (Ankh-Morpork & Klatch respectively). The only difference is that Ahmed is right; the "bad attempt to frame Klatch" was really committed by Klatchians specifically so Vimes would suspect Morporkians.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: Vimes suddenly breaks off a conversation with Carrot and goes to try and find 71-Hour Ahmed, because the subject under discussion has led him to realize what Ahmed's motivations are. The subject under discussion is "don't forget that we are policemen, and policemen do things in a certain way".
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: If you find yourself under attack by the D'Reg, the men will attack. And the women will attack. And the camels will attack. And the chickens will attack...
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The Curious Squid, noted In-Universe.
    He fished for Curious Squid, so called because, as well as being squid, they were curious. That is to say, their curiosity was the curious thing about them.
  • Excuse Boomerang:
    Oh, no doubt the man would suggest there were mitigating circumstances, that he had an unhappy childhood or was driven by Compulsive Well-Poisoning Disorder. But I have a compulsion to behead cowardly murderers.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: The captain of Ahmed's transport is going over some sabotage, and how clean the damage is, as he notes the large, sharp sword Ahmed just happens to be carrying.
  • Expospeak Gag: Sybil instructs the butler Willikins to tell Sam that if he tries to duck out of his social obligations she'll have his guts for garters. Due to Willikins' sense of propriety, the message is delivered as: "Lady Sybil has vouchsafed to me that if you are not there, she will utilize your intestines for hosiery accessories, sir."
  • Fantasy Conflict Counterpart: The war in this book combines elements of the Gulf War (the enemy is the Arabian Fantasy Counterpart Culture, it's mentioned that Ankh-Morpork (i.e. the West) actually sold the Klatchians their weapons for use in "pacifying" their own people, and jingoism leads to racism against Klatchian-Morporkians) and the Falklands War (the conflict is over an island that’s of no real significance except that the other lot aren't getting their hands on it).
  • Fall Guy: Carrot and Angua rather quickly learn there were two assassins, and one of them is dead.
  • False Flag Operation: Used in a rather complex way.
  • Fatal Family Photo: One of the young Ankh-Morpork soldiers killed by 71-Hour Ahmed is mentioned as having shown his sergeant a picture of his girlfriend the previous evening.
  • Fauxreigner: Ahmed is a real Klatchian who has been educated in Ankh-Morpork, but he feigns bizarre "foreign ways" as a form of Obfuscating Stupidity.
  • Fearless Undead: Discussed; Detritus thinks Reg is one because if the ship sinks he'll be all right and can just walk to safety. Reg is pretty brave, but also pretty pessimistic, so he points out all the reasons why someone who can't die should still worry about a ship sinking. Including "the trouble if a shark tries to eat me."
  • Foil: Ahmed is shown as similar to Vimes in being an honest cop, but unlike Vimes is decidedly not a Technical Pacifist. They even think alike. "Both of us suspected our own people first. The only difference is that I was right."
  • Foreign Money Is Proof of Guilt: Played about with the "clumsily set up to look like it's Klatchian-funded" assassination attempt. Actually, in a double bluff, it is Klatchian-funded.
  • Foreign Queasine: Played with; the D'regs don’t actually eat the sheep’s eyes but offer them to gullible travelers as a delicacy. Vimes refuses, and is praised for “seeing further than most” (”So does this food”) and given proper rice and sheep afterwards.
  • Foreshadowing: When Vimes consults General Tacticus's book on what to do if your army is outmanned, outgunned, and outmaneuvered, he reads, "Don't have a battle." That's exactly how the climax is resolved; Vimes stops the battle and Vetinari stops the war, both by surrendering.
  • For Halloween, I Am Going as Myself: The Klatchians that Colon talks to immediately realise he's a spy, but believe he's so blatantly obviously a Morporkian spy that he must actually be from another country and trying to implicate Ankh-Morpork.
  • Framing the Guilty Party: The embarrassingly bad frame-job implicating Klatchian agents is of the "Framing Yourself" variety, meant to conceal actual Klatchians' involvement. Sam Vimes doesn't fall for it for a second, until he talks about it out loud, and realises his disbelief was the intended consequence.
  • Friends Are Chosen, Family Aren't: A basic assumption in D'Reg culture. They're honorable in their way, but ties of blood don't mean all that much to them; Ahmed's mother would be horrified if she thought he trusted her. It would mean she'd done a poor job of parenting.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: A couple of Mooks on the Klatchian ship are attacked by a naked Angua.
  • Giant Robot Hands Save Lives: When the Klatchian embassy is on fire, Vimes saves a Klatchian woman by throwing her out of the window and letting Detritus catch her. Detritus is a troll. He’s made of rock.
  • Giver of Lame Names: Naming things is the one area where Leonard of Quirm's inventing genius fails, for some reason.
    "Well, because it is submersed in a marine environment, I've always called it the Going-Under-The-Water-Safely-Device."
  • Glad You Thought of It: This exchange between Lord Vetinari and General Ashal:
    Vetinari: May I suggest Ankh–Morpork?
    Ashal: No. On neutral territory, of course.
    Vetinari: But where, between Ankh-Morpork and Klatch, is there such a thing?
    Ashal: I suppose... there is Leshp.
    Vetinari: What a good idea. That would not have occurred to me.
  • Glory Hound: Lord Rust. Actually, more like he has such a low opinion of "Johnny Klatchian" that he thinks Hollywood Tactics will work and the glory is just for the taking.
    • He's also been trained since birth that the most important part of a battle is that you took part and there were huge casualties. If they were on the other side or not is a very minor thing.
  • Good All Along:
    • 71-Hour Ahmed turns out to be an honest Klatchian police officer trying to prevent the war, like Vimes.
    • Prince Khufurah, though not necessarily honest, turns out to be a better man than his Villain with Good Publicity brother.
  • Go, Ye Heroes, Go and Die: Carrot's attempt at a Rousing Speech. It still works, because it's Carrot.
    Carrot: "If we succeed, no one will remember! And if we fail, no one will forget!"note 
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: In the dunes in Klatch, when the Klatchian soldiers cut off Reg's arm he hits them with it until they run away screaming. (He's a zombie, so it's not as bad as you think.) Detritus also attacked people by hurling other people.
  • Haute Cuisine Is Weird: The Curious Squid are mentioned as tasting awful, but are worthwhile to fishermen because they can be sold to chefs who use their skill to create dishes containing no trace of the squid whatsoever.
  • Heroic Fire Rescue: Vimes. Parodied when he gets accused of trespassing (of the embassy on fire) and kidnap (of the woman he rescued).
  • Hollywood Board Games: The Discworld Fictional Counterpart of Scrabble is used to gauge the characters' type of intelligence. Vetinari shines at being The Chessmaster, so he beats Leonard of Quirm, who is a brilliant inventor. At the same time, Colon is a Cunning Linguist, which gives him a huge edge in games involving words. He loses to Vetinari only because he doesn't want to anger his boss. It's kind of Played for Laughs how Colon is struggling to think of words that won't score him above Vetinari.
  • "How Many?" "All Of Them": Detritus uses a variant; when Reg Shoe asks how far the barometer has sunk, Detritus (who was in charge of the aforementioned Emergency Cargo Dump) replies "All der way."
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • After Vimes chews Colon out for calling Klatchians "ragheads", Colon complains to Nobby that it's not as if he cares what people call him...
      Nobby: That's right, Fred.
      Colon: That's Sergeant Colon, if you please.
    • Colon also says "There's always a know-all" when someone in the crowd in Al-Khali is arguing with Vetinari. Colon himself is a Know-Nothing Know-It-All.
  • I Can See My House from Here: Rather, 'I Can See Your House From Here', carved into the base of General Tacticus' statue, as a boast and a threat.
  • I Gave My Word: The D'regs put no stock in oaths or swearing on things, but will always follow through if they give their word.
  • I Reject Your Reality: In sharp contrast to Lord Vetinari, Lord Rust's attempt at leadership is crippled by this sort of thinking:
    There was a definite suggestion that, deep inside, he knew this was not really happening. It could not be happening because this sort of thing did not happen. Any contradictory evidence could be safely ignored.
  • I Surrender, Suckers: An unusual variation, in that the "surrender" is done not to execute another attack but to humiliate the other side. Vetinari knows that Leshp will sink back into the sea very soon, so he writes up surrender documents that, crucially, say the surrender has to be ratified on a week. By the time the deadline comes up, the island has sunk once more, so Vetinari hasn't committed any offense by surrendering (as it was never ratified), and Prince Cadram has made himself look a fool by accepting it (as Vetinari handed him a piece of useless rock under the sea).
  • Impostor-Exposing Test: Angua sneaks aboard 71-Hour Ahmed's ship in wolf form by posing as a Klatchistan wolfhound. Ahmed quickly catches her, however, by having the dogs eat from silver plates.
  • Informed Flaw:
    • Klatch has been seen before in the Discworld books, but this is the first time it or its people have been seen in such detail. This might even be the first mention of a prominent Klatchian subculture in Ankh-Morpork. (The city has always been cosmopolitan, but details about Klatchians there weren't necessarily filled in.) Therefore, Colon's casual, petty racism or at least jingoism comes out of nowhere just in time for the Hypocritical Humor and Aesop.
    • On the other hand, his own utter inconsistency in this is instantly picked up on and mocked by Nobby as part of the joke. Also, Vimes previously noted in Guards! Guards! how the average Morporkian man in the street can suddenly become seized with anti-Klatchian Patriotic Fervour when the moment strikes. Which is, indeed, exactly what happens in this book.
  • Insult Backfire: Lord Rust means to belittle and insult Vimes when he refers to the Commander as a "thief-taker" and nothing more, but Vimes wears the appellation with pride because, well, he IS a thief-taker. It happens AGAIN with Rust when he contemptuously refers to Vimes as "not a gentleman", with all the venom he can muster. Vimes' response?
    Vimes: I knew there was something about me I liked.
  • Internal Reformist - Defied: Vimes briefly wonders if he should have been an Internal Reformist to Rust's regime, rather than throwing down his badge and storming out, before thinking "No. That never worked."
  • Ironic Echo: "Things to do today: die..."
  • Island of Mystery: Leshp.
  • It Began with a Twist of Fate: The Dis-Organizer's very creepy alternate timeline.
  • It's Like I Always Say: Parodied with this exchange between Vimes and Carrot:
    Vimes: You know what I always say.
    Carrot: Yes, sir. "Everyone’s guilty of something, especially the ones that aren’t," sir.
    Vimes: No, not that one...
    Carrot: Er... "Always take into consideration the fact that you might be dead wrong," sir?
    Vimes: No, nor that one either.
    Carrot: Er... "How come Nobby ever got a job as a watchman?", sir? You say that a lot.
    Vimes: No! I meant "Always act stupid," Carrot.
    Carrot: Ah, right, sir. From now on I shall remember that you always said that, sir.
  • It's Quiet… Too Quiet: A soldier thinks this to himself, but ten years of experience with the D'regs and their form of guerilla warfare leads him to consider what the noisy parts of war are like, and he concludes that it can never be too quiet.
  • Kansas City Shuffle: The villain's plan revolves around Vimes seeing through the 'fake' Klatchian plot and accusing his own people of the assassination, which he would have if not for Ahmed.
  • Keep the Reward: Vimes, not wanting to be forced into dukedom by accepting a package of rewards including it, says that this time the Watch don't even need a dartboard, and Vetinari catches him off guard by instead offering to restore his ancestor's reputation.
  • The Key Is Behind the Lock: The Bursar locks himself in the Unseen University safe and takes the key with him. "It's not even as if there's a keyhole on the inside."
  • Lame Pun Reaction: When Nobby and Colon find a bag of Klatchian clothing there are two fezzes inside it. After Colon puts one on he tells Nobby to put the other one on, causing Nobby to make the pun (or play on words) "Then we'll be fez to fez, sarge." Colon eyes him sharply and questions whether he had that one prepared.
  • Language Equals Thought: The D'reg's particular Klatchian dialect. Most informatively, their word for freedom is the same as their word for fighting.
  • Lazily Gender-Flipped Name: Denephew Boot's uncomplicated parents were expecting a girl. They wanted to call their daughter Denise ("De-niece"). When trying to masculinise it, instead of going for the obvious choice "Dennis", they swapped "niece" with "nephew".
  • Leeroy Jenkins: The D'regs. "At dawn we shall charge!"
  • Literalist Snarking: Leave it to Angua to respond to "My strength is as the strength of ten, because my heart is pure!" with "Well, there's eleven of them."
    • Also, Ahmed has shot two men in the leg, to stop them from attacking him. Vimes goes to criticize him for this, and Ahmed says, "I need people to know where they stand with me." Vimes says "Those two don't."
  • Look on My Works, Ye Mighty, and Despair: Vimes expects an equally impressive quote on the ruined statue of General Tacticus. However, see Canis Latinicus above.
  • Lost in Character: A variant happens with Nobby-as-Beti. He takes to his role as a woman very quickly, taking on a rather different and much more assertive personality, accusing Colon of being sexist whenever Colon tries to point out that he's acting out of character. Notably, as "Beti" he's not at all afraid of heights even if he's terrified of heights as plain old Nobby.
  • The Magnificent: 71-Hour Ahmed.
  • Majored in Western Hypocrisy: Ahmed was educated in Ankh-Morpork - specifically, the Assassin's Guild school. He claims that life among the D'regs is a picnic next to years at a boarding school "patronized by the sons of gentlemen".
  • Mildly Military: Justified, in that the Ankh-Morpork army is thrown together by a bunch of idiot aristocrats who are working from a vague idea about how armies are supposed to function. It's clear that the disciplined, seasoned Klatchian army are likely to make mincemeat of them.
  • Mirror Character:
    • The Klatchian and Morporkian fathers who lead the groups of settlers on Leshp, and also vividly demonstrate that bigoted, small-minded pillocks come from all nations, races, and creeds.
    • Also their sons, who demonstrate that kids being embarrassed by their parents acting like fools is another experience that transcends nation, race and creed.
  • Modern Major General: Lord Rust, and also Colon's old general when he reminisces on his army days - who actually had the troops form up into big arrow-shaped columns so it would look like all the tactical maps he'd seen.
  • Mook Horror Show: Reg Shoe (a zombie), Detritus (a troll) and Angua (a werewolf) vs. some raiders.
  • Mugged for Disguise: Nobby and Colon attempt this after getting to Klatch. It's subverted when they end up getting beaten up and having their own clothes stolen.
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: Listing the Ragtag Bunch of Misfits that is his loyal Watch, Vimes notes he has a dwarf, a troll, a dwarf-by-adoption, a zombie, and a religious fanatic.
  • My Instincts Are Showing: While Angua is normally very disciplined about her wolf side, entering a room with blood all over the floor stirs up her lupine instincts enough that she has to huff a bottle of stinky shampoo in order to suppress an involuntary shape-change. Inverted when she's chained up on Ahmed's ship in wolf-form, as her human side has to figuratively look away and hold its nose in order to allow her wolf-aspect to bolt down the raw meat Ahmed feeds her without throwing up.
  • Myopic Architecture: Referenced by Nobby in a parody of a common nostalgic phrase. "We never had locks on our doors in those days...that's because the bastards even used to steal the locks".
  • Namesake Gag: Cleverly combined with Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp" when Vimes' internal monologue uses the phrase 'Pavlovian response', even though the animal psychologist Ivan Pavlov obviously doesn't exist on Discworld. A footnote explains this by saying that in fact the animal response experiments were instead done on the Discworld by the wizard Denephew Boot note , and are so called because they involved ringing a bell which caused a dog to instantly eat a strawberry meringue.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: 71-Hour Ahmed again. An explanation of his name: in D'Reg culture, anyone you offer hospitality to is completely safe for three days i.e. 72 hours. Ahmed, a D'Reg, was under the same roof as a man guilty of poisoning a well, so once he'd confirmed beyond any doubt that the man was guilty his sense of justice drove him to execute him without even waiting out the last hour, completely ignoring Sacred Hospitality. Ahmed was the guest of the poisoner, and the custom also says you shouldn't harm your host. Ahmed, however, saw no reason to not to kill the man once he had confirmed that he really had killed a number of men, women, children, and camels, some of which were quite valuable. The fact he had poisoned the only source of water for 20 miles in a desert country makes it much worse than just killing the people, as he killed the PLACE ITSELF. The place will be uninhabitable until the water clears, if it ever does.
  • No Indoor Voice: Early on, Rust is mentioned as having the particularly aristocratic type of whisper where everyone can hear what they're saying.
  • Noodle Incident: Vetinari and Colon make one up.
    Vetinari: It's going to be like that business in Djelibeybi all over again, Al.
    Colon: Oh, dear.
    Vetinari: I don't know if they ever got that man down off the flagpole.
    Colon: Oh, most of 'im, they did.
    • Also, whatever incident Vetinari mentioned to Leonard, that happened during the hot summer and involved exploding horses.
  • Nose Tapping: Lampshaded by Nobby, who asks Colon why he's picking his nose when the sergeant is "detectoring".
  • N-Word Privileges: Angua claims the right to make snarky remarks about her own werewolfism.
    "It's only bad taste if someone else says it; I'm allowed."
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Detritus does a bit of this in the beginning, almost seeming to play with Vimes for a moment of amusement at one point, though of course his comment about how amazing the weathercocks are could be taken at face-value. The latter part of their conversation did seem to throw Vimes off guard for a second, though, when he compares the feeling in the air to the troll word "aagragaah".
  • Only Sane Man: Rust's adjutant Lieutenant Hornett is the only figure on the Ankh-Morpork army's upper echelons who seems to have a grasp of military matters and repeatedly tries to bring up how the inspirational stories Rust is citing are out of context.
  • Original Position Fallacy: Lord Vetinari apologetically explains that Ankh-Morpork has no standing army, and there is no money in the treasury to hire mercenaries, since the fattest guilds have all been avoiding paying their share of taxes. The assembled lords and guild heads all express outrage, and Lord Vetinari proposes that he immediately deputize Vimes and the Watch to audit and levy taxes from the worst offenders, of whom Lord Vetinari has a convenient list. The lords and guild heads quickly agree that some other solution should be found.
  • Orgy of Evidence: Deliberately invoked. The killers leave behind 'everything but a camel' to point to the murderer being from Klatch; knowing that Vimes' suspicious mind will cause to look everywhere but Klatch.
  • Outscare the Enemy: Vimes does this to a less-than-loyal sailor regarding a dangerous beach.
  • Overt Operative: Double-subverted. Colon and Nobby are so incompetent as spies that the Klatchians assume that they are actually spies from another Klatchian tribe pretending to be incompetent Ankh-Morpork spies.
  • Painting the Medium:
    • Carrot speaks some Klatchian — i.e., he can change his font to an italics cursive. There's even a few letters in the normal font, because he's speaking with a slight accent.
    • The main one is the 'H', and some Klatchians speaking Morporkian similarly leave a Klatchian-font 'H' in. In Real Life Arabic, the tongue that the font's style evokes, indeed has several different H sounds that non-speakers find difficult to master.
    • Most of what Stoolie the gnoll says has vowels replaced with apostrophes, presumably because he elides his words badly. Hence, "B'g'r 'ff, c'p'r."
  • Paper Tiger: Ankh-Morpork is the greatest city on the Disc, with a reputation as a economic powerhouse and the former centre of a vast empire, but it is woefully ill-equipped to fight a real war. Its standing military was disbanded centuries ago, and hardly anybody has any serious military knowledge. The city government itself is almost broke due to rampant tax evasion, so they can't afford to raise a new one or hire mercenaries, and must instead rely on inexperienced private regiments raised and led by upper-class twits who operate on Hollywood tactics. They have no allies due to said history of imperialism, along with the fact that most other nations are in debt to them and would love to see them fall. And to top it all off, the city's merchants and industries are all unabashed profiteers. Ankh-Morpork's situation is so bad that in an alternate timeline in which Ankh-Morpork fights a purely defensive war, the city is completely overrun in a matter of days!
  • Patriotic Fervor: Mocked soundly throughout, since the book is literally named after a song that's gone down in the English language as a byword for stupid, unreasoning nationalism. But also when Vimes feels a twinge of patriotic joy for the first time in his entire life upon hearing that after Carrot started a football game between the two armies to circumvent the war, Ankh-Morpork is leading in fouls.
  • Pocket Protector: Parodied: Colon's ancestor was given a small book of prayers to take into battle, which he carried in his breast pocket. During a battle, an arrow came out of nowhere, hit the book, and stopped at the last page. Unfortunately, it didn't do much to stop the other seventeen arrows. After hearing this, Nobby goes and grabs the biggest religious book on the disc (about five inches thick) and tries strapping it to his chest as armor.
  • Press-Ganged: Inverted for one of Nobby's relatives, who used to be a sailor until he was abducted by farmers while drunk and tied to a plough.
  • Pretend Prejudice: Colon is racist against Klatchians but still friendly towards the Klatchian... Er, probably Genuan owner of a restaurant he likes. Out of a sense of national pride he attempts to use racial reasons to justify Morporkian superiority, but this falls flat when it’s pointed out the many people he has no problem with of other nations who are also 'pretty brown', such as Constable Visit. In truth Colon is just naturally amiably disposed to most people. Not to mention realising that Nobby probably has every colour in the world on him somewhere.
  • Pretext for War: Leshp, one in Ankh-Morpork and Klatch's long history.
  • Pun: When Vimes arrests the armies, he lists off charges, including "Loitering With Intent" and "Loitering Within Tent". note 
  • Rain of Something Unusual: During the magical storm it's raining bedsteads, coal-scuttles and cake. And sardines - in tins.note  Constable Visit gives other examples of the trope, including the "supernatural rain of rain", while Reg Shoe tries to offer rational explanations for all of them.
  • Red Herring: Early in the text it's revealed that Leonard has discovered how to produce nuclear weapons. So when Vetinari takes a submarine to Klatch, carrying an important package that will end the war quickly, in a sealed tube... it turns out to be Ankh-Morpork's document of surrender.
  • Refuge in Audacity:
    • Unintentionally used by Sergeant Colon, when some Klatchians easily work out he's a spy but can't believe he could possibly be an Ankh-Morporkian spy because of how blatantly obvious that would be, and so assume he must be a spy working for a third power clumsily trying to implicate Ankh-Morpork.
    • Also the basis of a key plot point: the Klatchians were able to ensure Vimes wouldn't suspect them of paying an assassin by planting clues that looked like a ham-fisted attempt by ignorant racists to implicate Klatchians — using Klatchian money, 'sand out of his sandals on the floor', etc..
    • The charge Vimes uses to arrest the leaders of two armies is "behavior likely to cause a breach of the peace."
  • Resign in Protest: After Rust fires Vimes, everyone else there from the Watch quits on the spot over it.
  • Retcon: The second edition fixed a continuity error by changing 'Snowy can't read and write' to 'Snowy can barely read and write' - in the original, immediately after this is said they discover that Snowy Slopes wrote out a confession.
  • Revealing Cover-Up: See False Flag Operation.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: Colon, at one point. The thing about a double-bluff is that someone, somewhere, will fail to realize that it is a bluff in the first place. In this case, taking the absurdly blatant clues pointing to Klatch as evidence that Klatch is responsible.
  • Running Gag:
    • Rains of bedsteads, seafood (tinned sardines included), etc.
    • That bit about people or (large) animals falling and "splashing".
      "We're not over water."
  • Sacred Hospitality: Not only the D'reg's 72-hour rule, but they are duty bound to save anyone lost in the desert. Even if those people choose, like Vimes, to attack them.
  • Sanity Slippage: The Dis-organiser when it begins reciting its final messages from the Alternate Universe where Vimes stayed in Ankh-Morpork, mainly manifested through repeating itself:
    Things to do today today today... Die...
  • Sergeant Rock: Vimes' butler Willikins, with a few Drill Sergeant Nasty tendencies.
  • Shameful Strip: Inflicted on captive soldiers.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Extensive ones to Lawrence of Arabia — Carrot and Vimes split the role of Lawrence between them, and Vimes plays out the "the trick is not minding that it hurts" scene with Rust. note 
    • A shout out to Sweeney Todd also occurs when reference is made to a barber on Gleam Street. "Sweeney Jones. Well, he was killing people, Sybil. The best you could say is that he didn't mean to. He was just very bad at shaving-"
    • There are quite a lot of squid pictures in the sunken city of Leshp.
    • A parody of the song that brought us the modern meaning of Jingoism. "We have no ships. We have no men. We have no money, too."
    • And the whole assassination (attempt, in this case) that's part of a huge conspiracy, with the apparent shooter being dead before being interrogated, and the conclusion of several people that there must have been 'a second bowman' is reminiscent of plots and conspiracies seen around the murder of John F. Kennedy.
      • Even to the point of introducing the character of Stoolie, a gnoll so dirty he has grass growing on him. Yes, he's a grassy gnoll...
    • Doctor Strangelove: "Let's have no fighting, please. This is, after all, a council of war." ("You can't fight in here! This is the War Room!")
    • Shea and Wilson's Illuminatus! trilogy: the world's major powers are poised on the brink of war over ownership of a small, hitherto unregarded, island (which as bonus is full of Alien Geometries hinting at its being a doorway to Other Realms). Of course the intrepid crew of a submarine commanded by a devious manipulator (advised by a technological genius) are the right people to defuse the situation and avert war.
    • Carrot's use of football to disarm two opposing armies is more than reminiscent of the Christmas Truce of World War I.
    • Indeed, the Klatchian leader dismisses the opposition as "a contemptible little army", echoing Kaiser Wilhelm's (apocryphal) dismissal of the tiny British Expeditionary force of 50 000 men that helped a French army of 1,010,000 men halt a German Offensive Operation with 1,400,000 men trying to take Paris in the first month of The Great War. An even tinier and previously more contemptible "army" - the City Watch - succeeds in stopping the entire war.
    • The statue of Tacticus with only its feet remaining is a reference to Shelley's poem "Ozymandias" (see Look on My Works, Ye Mighty, and Despair).
    • Vimes describes Colon and Nobby as 'the keystones of the Watch', referencing the Keystone Kops.
    • Vetinari briefly channels comedian and magician Tommy Cooper. Twice.
    • Nobby gets named Beti as his alias. Colon of course ends up saying "You can call me Al."
    • Nobby's alias of Beti as part of a theatrical trio is likely a reference to Wilson, Keppel and Betty, who famously performed a desert-themed comedic turn known as "The Sand Dance".
    • When Nobby-as-Beti is telling dirty jokes to the Klatchian women, he claims to have "a thousand and one of 'em".
    • The book cited by Fred Colon as having given him a false impression of the ocean sound a lot like Rev. Charles Kingsley's The Water-Babies, A Fairy Tale for a Land Baby.
    • One of the gang members at Carrot's foot-the-ball game is called the Artful Nudger.
    • Carrot at one point says "My strength is as the strength of ten because my heart is pure." This is a famous line from the poem "Sir Galahad" by Alfred, Lord Tennyson.
    • The name of Captain Jenkins' ship, the Milka, references the Pinta, one of the three ships on Christopher Columbus' expedition, by way of an old British Milk Marketing Board slogan, "Drinka pinta milka day".
    • In one of his letters home, Carrot mentions a dwarf bread maker, Ironcrufts, and their slogan ("T' bread wi' t' edge"). This is a nod to the British breadmakers Allinsons, whose slogan for decades was "Bread wi' nowt taken out".note 
    • Carrot mentiones that he received a book called The Perfumed Allotment, or, The Garden of Delights from a Klatchian bookseller, and he thought it was about gardening, but it was about something else entirely. This is a reference to The Perfumed Garden of Sensual Delight, a famous medieval Arabic sex manual.
    • In addition to the obvious meaning, the Dis-organiser is also a reference to the real-life Psion Organiser. ("Psion" was pronounced "Zion"; the Dis-organiser is a tame demon, and Dis happened to be the name of a city in Hell).
  • Silly Reason for War: The 200-year-long war between Elharib and Smale is suspected to have started due to a fly, which pooped on a religious document and thus changed its evident meaning for one country or the other.
    • Subverted with Leshp; while going to war over a tiny island is silly, war ends up breaking out because a Klatchian prince was murdered in Ankh-Morpork while on a diplomatic mission. And Prince Cadram arranged for this so he could unite the whole of Klatch.
    • Subverted when Prince Khufura sarcastically asks what possible reason two nations would have going to war over a tiny island...that's perfectly located at the heart of several trade routes and could be used as a staging point for major blockades.
    • The entire conflict between Klatch and Ankh-Morpork winds up looking like this after Leshp sinks underwater again.
  • Sins of the Father: When Vimes has the Goriff family taken into protective custody, another Klatchian-Morporkian comes to complain about his kinsman being oppressed and brutalised and demands their release (even though they aren't captive in any way). Then the two meet and get into a squabble, as it turns out they're from different parts of Klatch which have been at war for quite a long time.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Lord Rust as a military commander.
  • Smart People Play Chess: Smart people are good at The Make-Words-With-Tiles-That-Have-All-Been-Mixed-Up Game. Vetinari wins, while Leonard still does better than Colon and Nobby. (Though Nobby was hampered by wanting to play rude words and Colon not letting him and Colon was hampered by being frightened of what would happen if he didn't lose to Vetinari.)
  • Soapbox Square: Sator Square is described as generally holding several ranters, haranguers, and self-absorbed mumblers at any given time, all of which declaim at the top of their voices. The crowds generally cheer them no matter what they're actually saying, to egg them on. What makes Vimes worried at the beginning of the book is that the crowds are actually pausing to think about what the ranters are saying.
  • Split Timelines Plot: Commander Vimes drops his Dis-organizer box, and accidentally picks up one from a parallel universe. He then experiences a downplayed example of this trope, hearing about what would be happening to his officers if they had stayed in Ankh-Morpork instead of going to Klatch. Much to his horror, they'd all die.
  • State Visit: Lord Vetinari uses State Visits as weapons. Any foreign Head of State invited to Ankh-Morpork is shown every hospitality, and every courtesy. He remarks that he likes negotiating with people who've just been subjected to a State Banquet at Unseen University - guests comatose and sleepy enough, or else in desperate need of an indigestion remedy, to agree to and sign just about anything.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: Zig-zagged. Klatchians have opinions about women in battle. D'regs have the opinion that if women want to go into battle, then they should be good at it.
  • Stealth Pun:
    • Carrot gets important information about the assassination attempt from a lowly garbage collector who happens to be a kind of troll called a gnoll, who are more earth-like than stone-like and have plants growing all over them. He’s a "grassy knoll"...
    • More subtly, the actual Second Bowman is named Snowy Slopes. Not "grassy knoll", but then Ankh-Morpork is in a somewhat cooler climate than Dallas...
    • The tale of the defeat of the Plum-Pudding People, after which the winners "ate their sultana." "Sultana" can also mean a raisin.
  • Stubborn Mule: "You can't get a donkey down from a minaret" is apparently proverbial, to the point where it's quoted in a later Discworld book as an example of doing the impossible. As it turns out, you just have to find the part of the donkey that really wants to get down.
  • Talk Like a Pirate: Subverted. Vimes tries to use sea-talk but Captain Jenkins tells him off. "All that yo-ho-ho stuff's for landlubbers, or it would be if we actually used words like landlubber. We don't say 'port' and 'starboard.' I've never even drunk starboard!" Double-subverted when Vimes's sheer nautical ignorance makes the captain snap and actually call him a landlubber.
    Vimes: I thought you never used the word!
    Captain: I never met one like you before! You even think we call the bows the sharp en- (shipwrecked)
  • This Is Gonna Suck: The troll word "Aagragaah", which literally means the moment when you see the first few pebbles and just know there's about to be a huge landslide and it's already too late to run. When Vimes asks where the word comes from, Detritus suggests it's the sound you make right before a thousand tonnes of rock hit you.
  • This Page Will Self-Destruct: Vimes receives a self-destructing note informing him that Colon and Nobby have been roped into a secret mission for Vetinari. Including an apology from Leonard of Quirm for not having better chemicals to do the job.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: After being repeatedly abused and ending up organizing a different universe than the one he was in, the Disorganizer was able to get a nice, easy job scheduling the life of a shark.
  • Title Drop: Doubling as a parody of the 19th-century song that led to the term "Jingoism". "We have no ships. We have no men. We have no money, too."
  • Too Dumb to Fool: Colon accurately guesses the main villain's plot by not realizing the "Klatchian" plot is obviously faked and realizes the death of a Klatchian prince in Ankh-Morpork would give his brother an excuse to invade.
  • Tranquil Fury: When Colon drops a racist slur early on, a very calm Vimes calls him into his office. Low, quiet conversation follows, evidently about words people shouldn't say.
  • Translation: "Yes": "Aagragaah." Detritus says the succinct translation would be "forebodings", but its literal meaning is "the moment you see the first few pebbles before a massive landslide and just know that it's already too late to run."
  • Truth in Television:
    • The main driver of the plot, an island rising from the bottom of the sea and being the source of diplomatic disputes? That really happened. Ferdinandea, or Graham Island, was a volcanic island that rose from the ocean and was the cause of a four-way dispute regarding its sovereignty, between Britain, France, Spain, and the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. And yes, it did sink before the diplomatic issues could be resolved.
    • And it's not the only time such a commotion developed around an island that likes to disappear.
  • Turn in Your Badge: Lord Rust has Vimes hand his in, at which point the other present watchmen proceed to turn in theirs out of loyalty to Vimes. Except Detritus, whose badge is carved into his skin. If you've read Men at Arms and seen how pathologically reluctant to part with it he was there, the fact that he hands it so quickly in protest of what he's been asked to do speaks volumes.
  • Unfortunate Name: Colon's old regiment, the Pheasant Pluckers. Angua is extremely amused by his statement that their marching song wasn't easy to sing right.
  • Unwitting Pawn:
    • Vimes, despite his suspicions he's being set up and his Genre Savvy efforts to avoid it.
      "That business with the Klatchian money and the sand on the floor, I saw through that right away-"
      "Yes. You did."
    • Ossie Brunt ends up being this for Snowy Slopes, the real assassin. Ossie thought he had been hired to assassinate Prince Khufurah. In reality, he was just a very literal fall guy.
  • Upper-Class Twit: The Ankh-Morpork nobles, who think that it will be easy to defeat Klatch, despite the facts that the Klatchian army outnumbers them by a wide margin and that the Morporkian army has no experience or training. Or, indeed, before the events in the book, no soldiers.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Prince Cadram. To the point that even Samuel Vimes gets very confused when he learns that he's the Big Bad. See also Affably Evil.
  • Water Source Tampering: 71-Hour Ahmed once visited a man who had poisoned the only well for twenty miles worth of desert, killing five men, seven women, thirteen children, and thirty-one camels (some of which were very valuable) in the process. Once he had solid evidence and witness testimony, Ahmed immediately executed the mass-murderer one hour before the customary three days of Sacred Hospitality was up. This is the source of his much feared nickname.
  • Waving Signs Around: An anti-Klatchian demonstration in Sator Square includes a banner that reads GREASY FORANE HANDS OFF LESHP.
  • We Have Reserves: Reading General Tacticus' autobiography, Vimes sourly reflects that Ankh-Morpork's greatest military commander fell out of favor for returning from his campaigns with most of his army intact, as if winning a victory without getting a good number of your men slaughtered is somehow "against the rules."
  • We Have Those, Too: Ashal didn't buy the spyglass (or "Make-Things-Bigger Device"), he inherited it from his grandfather.
  • You Know What They Say About X...: Angua tries to make a joke about this when she and Carrot are investigating Ossie Brunt's apartment, which had a huge collection of the Discworld equivalent of Gun Porn. She says "You know what they say about men who like large weapons." Carrot doesn't know. "They're rather...small." Carrot thinks she means "short" and starts talking about how the dwarfs love big weapons.